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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Right or Left Brain Training Conundrum - Which Lobe of Brain is Your Children on?

By Andrew Loh

Parents usually hear other people say that children think and learn either by using their left portion of the brain or the right. Just go through a parenting web site, and you might have read something about right and left brain learning. From parental TV shows to books, this topic is one of the most popular that poses several dicey and important questions. Before, reading this article, I would suggest you to learn what exactly is right and left brain theory and in what manner it can influence learning in children.

Left and right brain theory

This theory suggests that two lobes or sectors of human brains act in tandem and they also control different kinds of thinking. Apart from this, this perceived discrepancy in brain functioning also leads to people preferring one certain type of thinking over the other. In psychological domain, a theory called lateralization of normal brain functions influences right and left brain learning. In effect, the overall summary of this theory is that some people use one side of the brain to think and learn while others use the other side to control brain functions. Providing example for this thinking type could be a difficult task.

A person is who is supposedly right brained may show better logical and analytical skills. On the contrary, a person who is right brain endowed might show lots of intuitiveness and thoughtfulness. The right and left brain theory was first suggested by a well-known Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Roger W. Sperry who worked on patients with epilepsy. He found out that use of language was controlled by the left side of the brain. However, recent research has shown that humans need both lobes of brains to optimize learning and understanding. Now, let us learn more about two side of brain - the right brain and left.

The right brain lobe

Experts suggest us that right brain lobe can work best in tasks that need expressiveness and creativity. In other words, it influences all tasks that are connected with expression and creativity. For example, the following tasks are controlled by the right side of the brain:

  • Facial recognition

  • Emotional expression

  • Musical skills

  • Identifying colors

  • Recognizing images and pictures

  • The power of intuition

  • Creative thinking

The left brain lobe

Experts also suggest is that the left lobe of the brain performs very well in tasks that demand logical reasoning, linguistics and analysis/interpretation. People, who are strong in left side of the brain, can exhibit the following:

  • Learning languages and dialects

  • Reading foreign language letters

  • Logical reasoning

  • Recognizing numbers and math

  • Better reasoning skills

Listed here is some of the information processing types that are typically used by right or left side lobe of the brain. This might help you know different types of information processing styles and in what manner parents could use them to train their children to learn in an effective manner.

Linear and holistic processing of information

The left lobe of the brain always processes available information in a linear or sequential manner. In other words, it processes details from smaller chunks to whole, arranges them in a sequential manner and creates conclusions in a logical style. On the contrary, the right lobe acts in a reverse manner by taking the picture as a whole and in a holistic manner. In fact, it starts with the bigger picture and from the answer itself. Right brain endowed children might need to have prior information about a specific lesson before listening to the lesson recited by the teacher in the classroom. Right brained children often find following teaching very tedious as they must get a bigger picture of the lesson first before proceeding to parts of the lessons. On the other hand, left brained children use their right lobe in an effective manner.

Sequential and random processing of available information

The left lobe of the brain processes available information in a sequential manner. It likes to process in an orderly manner. In other words, it is a sort of index maker and involves daily planning or schedule making. It is also like “finish a task and tick it off” type of working style. Left brained people are usually good in spelling and mathematics as these subjects involve rigid ordering of available information. On the other hand, right lobed brain children like to work on a random basis. In other words, they may like to meander through different tasks without any particular order.

Symbolic and concrete processing of available information

The left brained children can easily process symbolic information like math notations, letters, words and symbols. In other words, they are quite good in linguistic and mathematical subjects. On the other hand right lobed children demand things to crystal clear and concrete. They usually like to feel and touch real objects so that they can be sure of they are learning. Their weaknesses might range from finding difficulty in using phonics and language and solving mathematical problems. In a way, these children are “hands-on” type of learners and inclined towards subjects that involve “doing”.

There are many more different information processing styles that differentiate right and left brain learning. However, the most challenging task for a parent is learning how to tackle a right brain learner in a complex world of left brain learning domain. Almost all right brain learners are unconventional and they find learning by using left brain very difficult. This might make learning in a typically academic environment quite daunting. Parents may need to learn different techniques to train such children so that they become “learning optimized” just like any other left lobe learners. The next article will provide some simple suggestions to train a right brain learner.


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